As your loved ones grow older, it is common for them to fall victim to scams as they are more vulnerable. Most scams target older age groups as it is easier to trick them into sending money or giving away their personal information. Giving your parents strong warnings or requesting power of attorney over their assets may appear to be the way to go, but these techniques frequently result in negative emotional consequences. Here are some tips to protect aging parents from scams without hurting their feelings.
Have a Talk
The first thing to do to protect your parents from scams is to educate them about them. Instead of merely telling them to hang up the phone or to ignore the email or message, sit them down for a talk so that you can explain why and how scams work. Explain that it is not possible for them to win a contest that they did not enter or that the government does not make unsolicited phone calls or ask for personal information as they already got them on their files.
Do Not Shame or Blame
If you found out that your parents are at the risk of getting scams, remind them not to trust strangers, especially those that have no online presence or are seeking money or their personal information. Try not to get frustrated at them for speaking with strangers, instead, inform them of the dangers of trusting a stranger they have never met online.
Try Reverse Psychology
If you notice your loved ones participating in sweepstakes or making a ‘double investment’, ask them how you can do it. According to psychologists, this method may elicit a warning in your loved ones as they do not want you to lose money the same way they did. When they are aware of the warning signs, hit them with the question ‘Then why do you do it?’. This may initiate a discussion that will assist your loved ones in coming to terms that they are being scammed or will be a victim of scams.
Turn Victims into Protectors
If your loved ones were victims of scams, you can persuade them to share more information about their experiences so that others can be aware when facing similar situations. You should be on the lookout for warning signs as well. If you do not live close to your loved ones, enlist the help of a trusted neighbor to act as your ears and eyes.
What type of mail does the house receive? Is there a pattern to the scam calls on the phone? These could indicate that your loved ones are on the list for ‘investment opportunities’ and sweepstakes. Scammers create and sell these lists in order to identify prior victims as potential targets for future fraud.
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